BROOKSVILLE — Two snarling defenses bored casual fans Friday night in a game lacking offensive electricity.
There were a couple of stray bolts of lightning.
In a battle between possibly the top North Suncoast teams, Pasco used two big plays to hold off rival Hernando 14-3. Compared with last year's 48-0 Pirates' victory, passing comments on Pasco's sideline collectively praised Hernando's improvement.
"Overall, Hernando's a good team," Pasco coach Tom McHugh said. "They played tremendous defense. They were all over the place."
Pasco managed just 11 rushing yards with Leopards such as Tomas Bronson, William Alderman and Darren Hambrick (son of former Pasco star by the same name) making big hits and keeping the running game contained.
What Hernando couldn't stop was Pasco's passing game, specifically quarterback Jacob Guy to receiver Trey Dudley-Giles. The duo hooked up on four plays, including a 41-yard score in the first quarter for an 8-0 lead. Dudley-Giles broke free on a fly route and Guy hit him almost in stride.
Guy, making his first varsity start, was 9-of-14 for 133 yards and a touchdown. But Hernando's defense sacked Guy four times in an aggressive pass rush.
"Our defense is probably the most aggressive defense I've had," Leopards coach John Palmer said. "I've had faster, I've had stronger. These kids are aggressive and fun to coach."
Stars from both teams were subdued, including Pasco sophomore Janarion Grant (four carries for minus-3 yards) and Hernando senior Alvin Delaine (12 carries, 27 yards).
The Leopards were inside Pasco's 30-yard line four times and could muster only three points in the first half, a 37-yard field goal by Andres Pinzon.
The Pirates iced it in the fourth quarter when senior Hakeeme Ishmar broke for a 26-yard TD.
"Mentally, coming off last year's game where they beat us 48-0, for them to stand up and play well was huge for them as a team," Palmer said. "We're going to get better from this game."